TypeCon 2009 will take place in Atlanta. I almost certainly won’t be able to go. I couldn’t even manage a trip to Buffalo last year, where my proposed sessions were as follows:
True or false: Fonts will solve your signage problem
Designing a new (“better,” “ideal”) font for signage applications is a student’s rite of passage. Everyone’s got their opinions on what fonts work for signage, usually clustering around a narrow range of typefaces. Others may have test results to back up their opinions. But a sign is a physical object in an indoor or outdoor space that is viewed by a living people. Have designers and the type industry put too much emphasis on typeface selection and designing new fonts? In deciding what makes signage work, what else has been overlooked? Especial discussion of accepted wisdom, common myths, and accessibility.
Reviled-Fonts Smackdown: GET UR HATE ON
Neither a panel nor a presentation, but more of a moderated lightning round–cum–game show (I’m the moderator). An invited set of panellists, and then also anyone in the audience, has exactly 90 seconds to nominate a font they hate and convince us why they’re right. Bonus complication: The words “Arial,” “Comic Sans,” “Souvenir,” “Cooper Black,” and “Rotis” are all banned, with penalties imposed for any utterance of them. Homework assignment: Attending design students may be tasked with designing viable layouts or other uses of some of the nominated fonts, for later posting .
Chasing Cursive & Casual
What does the HDTV captioning standard mean by “cursive” and “casual” fonts? Are these merely joke categories – excuses to include whatever second-rate fonts with zero-cost licences (like Ashley Script or Coronet) on the assumption that no one will ever use them? (Research doesn’t bear that out: If the fonts are there, people will pick ’em.) This presentation walks through the morphology of casual (“fun”) and cursive (“handwritten”) fonts, with an emphasis on mid-20th-century forms. It will nominate viable existing faces and articulate design principles for new fonts that work in the context of TV viewing.